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Father's rights are limited before birth

You found out that your girlfriend or wife is pregnant. That good news can be quickly overshadowed if you and she disagree with aspects of her prenatal care or care for the fetus before birth. For fathers, the pregnancy period is largely one during which they have to sit back and allow the woman to make the decisions about what is going to happen.

When a woman is pregnant, her wishes are the ones that are considered when it comes to the pregnancy. This means that the father of the baby can't make choices for her. He can't decide that he is going to sit in on doctor's visits or get test results unless she wants him to. This is because of privacy laws. This is a difficult position for the man to be placed in, but the law views the pregnant woman's body as solely her property.

There are some instances in which the court might be able to step in and take charge. For example, a woman can't sign the baby over for adoption without the birth father's consent. But, even then, the man doesn't have much say until the baby is born.

Another case in which the man might have some measure of control is when the pregnant woman is doing things, such as abusing drugs, that are known to harm the baby. The court might step in and take action in those cases.

If you think that there is a situation that requires the court to step in with the mother of your unborn child, you should explore what rights you have in that case. From there, you can make a plan of action.

Source: FindLaw, "Fathers' Rights Before Birth," accessed Nov. 17, 2016

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